Skip to main content

Retail Forum Meeting - 8th November 2012

Minutes of the Retail Forum Meeting - 8th November 2012

TIME: 11.00 am


Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LOC) [Chair]
Allan Davies, Tesco (AD)
Peter Wight, Marks & Spencer (PW)
Suzanne Cullen, Superquinn (SC)
Elaine Clohosey, BWG Foods (EC)
Ray Bowe, Musgraves (RB)
Rob McEvoy, Topaz (RMcE)
Stuart Challenor, Tesco (SC)
Sandra Murphy, Lidl (SM)
Paula McGrath, Aldi (PMcG)
Selena McAndrew-Burke, ADM Londis (SMcA)


Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA)
Gail Carroll, FSAI (GC)


Denise Lord, Gala Retail Services (DL)
Lynda Kenny, Musgrave (LK)
Mary Daly, Dunne’s Stores (MD)
Sonya Boyce, IBEC (SB)


Eileen Lippert (EL)

New Members

Noted: Paula McGrath from Aldi was welcomed to her first meeting of the Retail Forum. Gail Carroll (FSAI’s HSE Service Contract Manager) also introduced herself.

Agree Minutes of Meeting of 20 June 2012

Agreed: The minutes were agreed subject to the amendment of errors on the attendants list.

Matters arising

Traceability audit

Agreed: It was clarified that the definition of what would be required to be recalled in the case of a compound product, containing an ingredient implicated in a food incident, will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will be based on risk assessments.

FSA Northern Ireland

Noted: LO’C followed up on this and addressed the matter with members. FSAI will continue to operate as it currently does unless the EU Food and Veterinary Office take issue with it.

Noted: RMcE explained the context of his frustrations relating to this and outlined issues he encountered during a recent listeriosis outbreak. This led to some discussions.

Danish Pork Traceability Model

Noted: RB explained the context of this request to see the model and WA explained that FSAI has looked at it following the publication of the dioxin incident report.

Letter about Campylobacter

Action: This is still outstanding and LO’C will follow up with Ray Ellard.

Campylobacter Steering Group

Noted: David McCleery has accepted the FSAI’s invitation to join the Campylobacter Steering Group. LOC noted that she planned to have the next meeting of the Steering Group in early December.

Hygiene of re-usable bags

Noted: LOC reported that Safefood recently did a small survey on the subject of reusable bags and the results will soon be published.

Sugar Tax – Wayne Anderson

Wayne Anderson gave a presentation on ‘Sugar sweetened drinks tax (SSD): health impact assessment’. The main points he addressed were:

  • Explanation of the Body Mass Index Chart for adults;
  • Obesity facts in Ireland;
  • Causes for excess weight gain;
  • Some drivers affecting energy balance;
  • Where should the focus be?
  • The request of the Minister for Health for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA)
  • Members of the HIA Steering Committee;
  • FSAI’s conclusions on SSD tax and purchasing behaviour;
  • FSAI’s conclusions on SSDs and weight gain;
  • Next steps.

WA confirmed that the Minister for Health will meet with the Special Action Group on Obesity (SAGO) on 13th November to hear the outcome of the HIA. It was confirmed that FSAI was against the tax, as it didn’t think there was sufficient evidence to support its effectiveness and the cost of monitoring would be too high. Other interventions would be more likely to be a better use of money. The status of these taxes in Denmark and Hungary were discussed and the need to do something to tackle the obesity problem before it’s too late. The suggestion of a subsidy on healthy food options was put forward and there was generally a lot of frank and earnest discuss on the subject of sugar taxes.

WA also mentioned the FSAI’s Infant Feeding report (due to be published shortly). In particular, he mentioned the difficulty for parents who buy baby foods which although they meet the legal requirements for baby foods unfortunately may give parents the impression that the adult version of these food (e.g. high in salt or fat) are suitable for infants, when they are not.

Action: A copy of the presentation will be emailed to the members.

Noted: For information purposes, WA gave members details on a new ICMSF publication called Microorganisms in Food 8: Use of Data for Assessing Process Control and Product Acceptance which is available to purchase online:


LO’C informed the group that the application for funding to look at ways to control Campylobacter under the Department of Agriculture FIRM programme was successful. The research, which will focus on primary production and especially bio-security, is being led by Paul Whyte and Declan Bolton. It’s due to start in the next few weeks.

Based on a query from MD at the last meeting, a copy of the fact sheet on how to minimise the risk of leakage of potentially contaminated juices from fresh poultry products was distributed to the members for information. LO’C asked the members what particular issues/additional information they would like included on a factsheet on safe handling advice with regards to poultry.

Action: No-one had anything in particular that wasn’t already covered by their in store procedures and LO’C will revert to MD who suggested the idea.

Reference was made to the Central Veterinary Research Lab’s (CVRL) 2011 Annual Report on Campylobacter. The level of contamination in poultry flocks and on poultry meat has not really changed since the 2008 EU baseline study.

Action: EL will circulate the study to the members for information.

Members were notified that FSAI is currently drafting the report of a survey on Campylobacter in retail chicken and members will be advised when it is published.

This led to a discussion on FSAI making company specific information gathered from these surveys available to the members. FSAI acknowledged this issue, but explained that the surveys are not designed to generate this data. Members inquired if the HSE would have this information. FSAI explained that it would be a huge task for the HSE to collate company specific data from the different EHOs but confirmed that it is routine practice for EHOs to report the results to the premises where the samples were taken.

Action: DGD and GC said that they could raise this issue at a future meeting with the HSE.

Food Grade Hand and Paper Towels

LO’C gave a short update on the issue of food grade hand/paper towels. While there are no EU specifications for these products she highlighted that there are a variety of products on the market, some of which may not be suitable for use in food premises. Possible hazards include: (i) paper manufactured under unhygienic conditions; (ii) paper made using substandard recycled paper which can contain contaminants; and (iii) paper coloured with a blue dye not certified for use in food. Members were urged to follow best practice and ensure that the towels they use are of the highest standard and appropriate for use in food premises.

Food Information for Consumers (FIR) – Allergens & Calories

PW who asked for calories on menus to be an agenda item, met Mary Flynn on the way into the meeting room and she addressed all his queries. In particular, that FSAI is not looking for kilojoules posted as well as calories for the Calories on Menus initiative.

There was a query about the traffic light system of labelling and FSAI confirmed that there has been no change in this respect.

PW spoke about allergen labelling and advice he received from EU legal services that an optional allergen box would no longer be permitted. This legislation is still very new and guidance on its implementation is currently under discussion in Brussels.

Action: LO’C will consult with Anne Marie Boland in FSAI and revert to the members.

SC raised the issue of hybrid labelling (i.e. GDA + traffic light) in the context of FIR.

Action: SC will email EL with the details of his query and this will be passed to AMB. Other members with queries on this new legislation were invited to submit them to EL.

New Traceability Legislation

New provisions set out in Regulation (EU) No. 931/2011 regarding the traceability requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2002 in respect of food of animal origin will be applicable from 1st July 2012. LO’C distributed a short note about this to the members.

Action: EL will email a copy of the Regulation to the members.

Update on Sprouted Seeds Legislation

Members were advised that the four proposed new regulations on sprouted seeds are likely to come into force by March 2013. The proposed regulations deal with:
1. Approval of establishments.
2. Traceability requirements.
3. Microbiological criteria.
4. Certification requirements for imports.

Legislation Update

GC gave members a short update on SI No. 168/2012. These Regulations are intended to define “marginal, localised and restricted activity” as referred to in Article 1(5)(b)(ii) of Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 on specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin. These Regulations apply to food business operators supplying food of animal origin from a retail catering establishment or retail bakery to other retail establishments. The Regulations came into operation on 1 June 2012.

Action: EL will email a short summary and a copy of the legislation to the members.

A copy of the Legislation Update was distributed at the meeting and LO’C highlighted the items that were most relevant to the members.

Action: EL will email the update to the members.


VTEC Survey

Members were advised that FSAI will soon be publishing a report on a recent survey on VTEC in minced meat and burgers. It was clarified that brand details will not be published.

Dates for Meetings in 2013

Meetings for 2013 will take place in February, June and November and these dates will be arranged using doodle polls.